The participants entered with open minds and left knowing that there was far more to learn.
From November 1st through to December 6th, 2014, sixteen curious individuals walked into our studio anxious to participate in the Foundation Training Intensive Workshop that I would be conducting.
I initiated the idea of the Intensive Workshop, with permission from the Foundation Training group out of California, for two reasons:
- I had been asked and agreed to guest-teach a few FT sessions at my own gym, Balance Fitness. The responses from the participants after these classes were overwhelmingly positive, and humbling, with many requests for more.
- Due to these requests, I felt the need to help as many people as possible. I wanted the conversation to be about: a) Improving understanding of movement, and Foundation Training; b) How movement works in relation to Foundation Training, and; c) Why does movement matter in fitness.
In short, I wanted to help people begin to understand movement the way that I understand movement: with curiosity and a deep understanding that if we’re not curious about movement, our fitness ambitions and efforts are practically worthless - at best, muted.
I can hear the gasps now from some individuals after reading that last statement. To clarify, in her book, "SITTING KILLS", Dr. Joan Vernikos wrote: "It is only while you're exercising that we seem to derive some benefit from it. But you cannot exercise all day. So there must be some other form of contribution". Not if we're not using the extraordinary forces of gravity to help as we develop the patterns of human movement. Sitting, we now know, has become one of the biggest antagonists in our efforts to improve our health, and has been linked to many of the illensses and diseases we now live with, including the effects of aging.
I came to understand that if I was going to talk about movement, I had to communicate exactly how I define MOVEMENT. While we all move to varying proficiencies, I'm speaking specifically about the SEVEN PATTERNS of HUMAN MOVEMENT: GAIT, SQUAT, LUNGE, PUSH/PRESS, PULL, HINGE and TWIST/ROTATION. Everything that we do as people are based on those patterns, and Foundation Training re-teaches us how to properly load our joints, connecting chains of muscles so that each of these human patterns of movement can return us to a more natural, powerful and pain-free state of well-being. It's really this simple - move better, feel better, get fitter.
So, isn't this what exercising is all about? "My trainer makes me do pulldowns all the time", some will say. Sure. However, what does doing an exercise called "Lat Pulldown" have to do with learning how to perform the pattern of movement that I call PULL? Nothing.
As a teacher of movement, the most rewarding moments are the EYE OPENERS. The great moments when a student realizes that just because they've been doing an exercise called "squats" doesn't mean that he is doing a SQUAT. That, just because the exercise is called a "bench press" doesn't have much to do with learning how to push.
I can see the confusion growing.
All of the people who took part in the workshop came into the studio on day one believing those things, too. At the end of week six, they all left with the profound knowledge that, as one participant aptly stated: "...Proper technique is so important especially in getting set up to do a particular exercise. This then seems to greatly increase your ability to do the movement correctly. As you set the body it also sets the mind".
I can't help but smile. I'm happy that I was able to successfully, at least for that individual, shift the conversation. Now, that person has begun to understand that burning calories and sweating are only byproducts of practicing movement, and not the benchmark. I'm thrilled!
The workshop was a success. "Learning Foundation Training and my abilities in relation to it is definitely an ongoing process", one person wrote in the survey that was provided at the conclusion of the workshop. The same person went on to say: "Correction or more mindful application of specific movements is constant". A positive and significant nudge was made in that person's understanding of movement.
"I got a better understanding of the muscles involved in the exercises and the goal for doing them", wrote another participant. "I learned the modifications necessary for my body & (its) alignment. I was exposed to ideas about movement that include but also go beyond Foundations Training". My work here is done.
And still, this statement completely summed up the overall theme of the survey and the experience of all participants: "In order to achieve more efficient, effective movement of my body, and to prevent injury, it is clear that the individual components of my body must act in unison rather than in isolation from one another".
There will be more workshops to come in the New Year. #doafounder